Google vs. Bing: Fight! #copygate

On Feb 1, 2011, Danny Sullivan published a post on Search Engine Land describing google's allegations that Bing is copying google results to improve their own search results.

Google set up some honeypot pages for nonsense words, and the only way Bing could get those was if they were sniffing them out through Internet Explorer usage out of Google.

Based on the discussions I've seen on this, it seems that Bing is using the Internet Explorer browser and permission from users to watch their browsing behavior, they're watching what people search for on Google and other search engines, as well as what they're clicking on, to collect information for improving their own search results.

Google suspects this is much more widespread than just the obscure searches that they've used to definitively identify this behavior. It's just really obvious to see that Bing is picking up search terms and search results, likely from Google employees running these searches on IE browsers.

This list contains some of the interesting posts and tweets surrounding this scuffle.

This has been dubbed #copygate on Twitter. Check that hashtag for a finger on the pulse.

Was Bing wrong to use Google search data in their own index?

Today, Google called Bing to the carpet for using search data collected via the Internet Explorer browser to enhance their own search listings. Essentially, Bing collected information on what their IE users search for on Google, and what they click on, to add to their own search index.

Is Bing copying the hard work of Google engineers, recycling stale search engine results from Google? Or are they using legitimate signals from their users who opt in to anonymously share their clickstream information?

What do you think?


Last word: Bing Gets Served - The Colbert Report - 2/2/11

I think this may very well be the last word in the bing-Google battle over copying search results.



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